HUMAN Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen speaking to members of the Idas Valley Backyarders community, after brokering an agreement between themselves and Stellenbosch municipality yesterday. Supplied
Cape Town - The Human Rights Commission said it would monitor an agreement it brokered between Stellenbosch municipality and members of the Idas Valley community that will see the two sides compare and co-ordinate their contentious housing lists.

The municipality and the Idas Valley Backyarders Forum each had their own lists of those who had applied for housing, and as part of the agreement reached with Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen, the two lists of people who have been promised Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing would this evening be reconciled and verified, so that construction can begin in September.

Officials of the municipality’s human settlements department and the provincial Human Rights commissioner met and addressed members of the Idas Valley community.

Nissen said, “the community are still angry about the situation and very distrustful of the municipality, which they say has broken past promises, but we assured them that the commission is now involved and it is our job to hold the council to any promises it might make”.

“We now have an agreement on time-frames with the Stellenbosch municipality, and after tomorrow’s meeting the two sides can develop a social compact based on these time-frames, which we will monitor,” Nissen said.

“In line with the provincial department of human settlements’s prescribed guidelines, the reconciled housing list will prioritise the elderly; people with disabilities; and those currently living in the worst of conditions,” he said.

Communications manager for governance in the office of the municipal manager Stuart Grobbelaar said: “The municipality remains committed to constructive and positive co-operation between all role-players.”

Earlier, Idas Valley Housing Committee (IVHC) spokesperson Sherileen Phillips said community members had disrupted work at the site where construction of the homes was set to begin, and had stopped construction workers from accessing the site.

“We managed to shut them down before coming to the meeting with commissioner Nissen,” said Phillips.


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Cape Argus